The United States Coast Guard responded to an overturned vessel near Sitka, Alaska on Tuesday evening, where they found two people dead and rescued three others.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Air Station Sitka initially responded to the scene near Chichagof Island at 5:15 p.m. local time, and recovered the three people from the water at approximately 5:50 p.m., according to a statement from the Coast Guard.
They were subsequently transported to the Sitka airport, where they received medical attention.
According to Coast Guard Capt. Darwin Jensen, commander of Sector Southeast Alaska, the two missing people were found the following day deceased in the cabin.
“It was with a heavy heart that we received news about the two people inside the cabin from our Sitka Fire Department search partners,” Jensen said. “We send our support and strength to the family members at this time and thank our partner agencies for their assistance in this case.”
The Sitka Police Department initially notified the Coast Guard watchstanders at the Sector Southeast Alaska command center of the overturned vessel at approximately 4:48 p.m. Tuesday.
Upon receiving reports of the vessel overturning, Coast Guard Cutters Douglas Denman and Kukui and an HC-130 from Air Station Kodiak responded to the scene on Tuesday.
They were able to track the vessel’s drift and began searching the area for other potential survivors. Air Station Sitka conducted additional searches on Tuesday night and Wednesday mornings.
By Wednesday afternoon, two individuals remained missing. Sitka Fire Department and Alaska Wildlife troopers then deployed an unmanned underwater drone to search inside the vessel, where they were ultimately located.
Recovery operations for the deceased will commence once on-scene conditions improve, the Coast Guard said.
According to the Coast Guard, the water temperature at the time of the incident was approximately 44 degrees, and air temperature at 31 degrees. Initial weather included winds as 8-10 knot winds, causing 9 ft. seas.